Daily Digest: Republic disagrees with EPA plan for radioactive West Lake Landfill
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR WEST LAKE
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is set to officially sign a record of decision today for cleaning up radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site in Bridgeton, Missouri, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The proposed plan is projected to cost $205 million — about $20 million less than originally proposed — and take at least four-and-a-half years, including design. After considering multiple options, the EPA has settled on excavating anywhere from 8-20 feet deep in some locations to remove an estimated 75,000 cubic yards of material. That will be transported off-site, largely via rail, to four licensed facilities. Once excavation is complete, about 143,000 cubic yards of on-site material will be backfilled and a new engineered cover will be installed.
The EPA said it "does not anticipate a need for temporary or permanent relocation of residents during remedy implementation." No mention was made of whether this might affect operations at the nearby St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
It has taken many years to reach this point, and local residents may be relieved to see progress on a site that many are concerned could be affected by an ongoing subsurface fire, but the work is far from over.
Now, the EPA must negotiate an enforceable agreement with the three potentially responsible parties (PRPs) — Exelon Corp., the U.S. Department of Energy and Republic Services. This site, and the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill, both entered Republic's portfolio during the 2008 Allied Waste merger. There was a previous agreement to equally split the cost of the site's current cover, but no such deal is in place yet for this new proposal.
Bridgeton Landfill LLC, a Republic subsidiary, has released a statement opposing the EPA's decision, calling it "arbitrary and capricious." The company says this plan "creates unacceptable risk with no proportional benefit, will greatly increase the time needed to remediate the site, and is contrary to EPA’s own findings regarding the risks posed by the site."
Instead, the company has previously expressed support for a solution that would involve keeping the current cap in place. Now, it's next moves aren't immediately clear.
"From here, we will continue to engage vigorously with the EPA and the other PRPs to ensure that any remedy is performed in a manner that maximizes protections for the community and for onsite workers performing such remedy."
IN OTHER NEWS
Rubicon hiring new CFO, establishing new structure, laying off 44 — Waste Dive
Following the recent acquisition of three companies, Rubicon Global is taking a deep look at how it does business. Waste Dive has exclusive insight from the senior leadership team, including President Kim Rumph's first interview, on what it all means.
BP and Johnson Matthey license tech to Fulcrum BioEnergy — Press Release
The two companies have signed an agreement to license their Fischer Tropsch technology for use at Fulcrum's Sierra BioFuels Plant in Nevada. The technology is described as operating "both at large and small scale to economically convert synthesis gas, generated from sources such as municipal solid waste and other renewable biomass, into long-chain hydrocarbons suitable for the production of diesel and jet fuels." Once it opens (targeted for Q1 of 2020) this plant will be the first of its kind in the U.S. It's expected to take in approximately 175,000 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) per year for conversion into 11 million gallons of fuel.
In 2016, BP signed a 10-year offtake agreement with Fulcrum, including distribution through supply chain partner Air BP, and agreed to invest $30 million. If successful, this project will join a growing list of disposal alternatives that don't include landfilling or mass burn combustion in the U.S.
Utah MRF investing in new plastics tech post-China — Press Release
Revolve Recycling has announced plans to invest in a system that "will be able recover HDPE, LDPE Rigid, PET, and PP plastic from post-consumer bales materials located throughout the Western US." The company is currently seeking new material from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and others, with expectations that it will hit capacity by January 2019. Following China's import ban on mixed plastics, and the subsequent tightening of options in other Southeast Asian markets, this has become a clear market need that will likely be well-received in the region.
One dead following MRF altercation in New York — Newsday
Yesterday at the Green Stream Recycling MRF, located within the town of Brookhaven's landfill on Long Island, one co-worker stabbed another before committing suicide by jumping off a catwalk. Both were transported to a local hospital, where the stabbing victim is said to be in stable condition and the other man was pronounced dead.
SWANA to bring landfill training to Colombia with federal grant — Press Release
The U.S. Department of State has awarded SWANA a two-year, $400,000 grant "to identify regulatory gaps, offer landfill training, and provide capacity building relating to solid waste disposal in the country of Colombia." A Colombian delegation will also attend WASTECON in 2019 in conjunction with site visits and numerous meetings. SWANA will then conduct a Colombia-specific training center in 2020 with Asociacion Andina de Residuos (Asoresiduos), the country's leading trade association, and invite participation from other Latin American countries.
“This grant award marks an important step forward for SWANA, as we expand our efforts to provide opportunities for our members in developing countries,” said SWANA Executive Director and CEO David Biderman in a statement. “The goal of this project is to improve landfill operations and the regulatory structure in Colombia, which will benefit the environment and public health for millions of Colombians."
Malaysian government setting new import tax amid ongoing plastics overhaul — Waste Dive
Following ongoing news of unregulated and illegal plastics processing facilities popping up in the Southeast Asian country, some reportedly run by Chinese companies, Malaysia is taking a harder stance on what it allows in. Waste Dive's Katie Pyzyk breaks down the latest.
SEEN & HEARD
ON THE AGENDA
- Webinar: Curbside Recycling Success Stories (1-2:30 p.m. ET) The Southeast Recycling Development Council is taking a look at how single-stream programs can be optimized through education with perspectives from Waste Management, Casella Recycling and The Recycling Partnership.
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email [email protected].
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